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Author Topic: what wood for ground contact  (Read 14065 times)

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Offline woodmills1

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what wood for ground contact
« on: October 28, 2001, 03:23:44 AM »
i am going to need to put up some kind of building to make sure that my air dried stock stays dry for delivery to an ongoing customer.  before my recent move to the farm, i would resticker my pine boards inside the open ended 35 by 60 barn i built.  now i have a two car garage that is already too full :o i figure it would be easier and faster at this time of year to build a pole barn type of structure, however i am worried about putting wooden poles into the ground.  If i had any locust on my property i would use it, but no luck.  I have white oak and black birch.  do any of you know if either of these two species would give a usable life with direct ground contact, or if there is an effective treatment i can apply to help prolong their life?  or, is there a better method than putting the posts directly in the hole.  thanks.
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Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: what wood for ground contact
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2001, 03:54:34 AM »
There is 3 requirements for rot to occur:  food, moisture, and oxygen.

The food is the wood.  Oxygen is present in the soil up to about 1'.  That's why telephone poles don't rot below that point.  Moisture is the only thing that you can control.

If you have a roof overhang that keeps moisture off of the poles, practically any wood is acceptable.  I have white pine sills on my house, and they are in good shape except where there was a moisture problem.

I have seen hemlock used in your application.  I would opt for the white oak.

Another method is to put a 55 gallon oil drum in the ground.  Fill it up with concrete and put a couple of pieces of steel sticking out of the barrels.  Put a post in between the steel and bolt together.  You wouldn't really need the drum, you could just dig a hole and fill with concrete.
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Offline L. Wakefield

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Re: what wood for ground contact
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2001, 09:08:15 AM »
   Good to know..the bullpen I built this summer was of hemlock- and the posts were 6x6 and sunk in 2' of concrete. My husband is still fretting that I should have used pressure treated. I thought I had gained myself some protection from rot by using the crete. Glad to hear others agree. ;D  lw
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Offline Tom

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Re: what wood for ground contact
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2001, 09:28:50 AM »
I would opt for Pressure treated pine to get the longivity of 30 years.  If you put wood in concrete there are two things to consider.  1. wood in contact with concrete can be affected by the chemicals in the concrete.  Many here will wrap a pole in  roofing paper before pouring the concrete.  2. Be sure that the pole doesn't extend beyond the concrete at its base.  Even treated wood may not be treated in the center and termites may find their way up the center of the pole to the roof just as if you had provided them an expressway by travelling through the heart wood.  Some concrete block waste in the bottom of the hole will allow the concrete to flow around the bottom of the pole and seal it.
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Offline timberuk

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Re: what wood for ground contact
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2001, 10:31:51 AM »
I'm just back from Germany, where I saw timber-framed houses built 400 years ago, and still in everyday use. They used oak throughout, sunk straight into the ground. I don't know if the oak was treated, but they would only have had basic preservatives in those days anyway. Having said that, a timber with rot-resistant heartwood wouldn't, by definition, take preservatives too well.

Over here, telegraph poles are all Scots pine, with the bases tightly encased in aluminium to just above soil level.

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Offline Ron Scott

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Re: what wood for ground contact
« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2001, 10:37:05 AM »
Yes, use a concrete base or footing as mentioned and/or treated wood to maximize your longivity for replacement from rot.
~Ron

Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: what wood for ground contact
« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2001, 12:53:30 PM »
Putting poles in concrete does not work well.  Concrete attracts moisture.  That's why they put tar on the outside of concrete basement walls.

When I inspected telephone poles, the poles that had concrete around them were usually the first to go.

If there is sufficient roof overhand from your bullpen posts, you might stand a pretty good chance.
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Offline L. Wakefield

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Re: what wood for ground contact
« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2001, 02:36:43 PM »
naah, no roof. This is his exercise pen. About 30x50, open air. He'd been in the barn all winter, and it wasn't a happy time for him. He looks much better now, and hopefully will have done right by all the ladies of his acquaintance by the time it gets cold enough to butcher. ::)  lw
L. Wakefield, owner and operator of the beastly truck Heretik, that refuses to stay between the lines when parking

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Re: what wood for ground contact
« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2001, 02:58:55 PM »
Man I missed something L, last I knew you were talking about your husband and comments he made on your building a place for baseball pitchers to warm up. Please tell me your not still talking about him.
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Offline L. Wakefield

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Re: what wood for ground contact
« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2001, 03:05:16 PM »
   I can't remember the thing about baseball pitchers- must have been some other lw coming out of left field- can't blame you for confusing us- but no, this is not for the hubby. He likes it ok when I butcher- but I've finally gotten him his own little critters- of course, when his cow had a good looking angus/hereford cross bull calf, I immediately tried to talk him into breeding it before butchering it. At first all he could see was beef- but the little guy (we named him 'buster brown') is starting to look really good, and I think Mike is beginning to catch the fever of wanting to see what his babies would look like. I was hoping he'd get roped in on this :D :D :D  lw- still deep in left field..
L. Wakefield, owner and operator of the beastly truck Heretik, that refuses to stay between the lines when parking

Offline timberbeast

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Re: what wood for ground contact
« Reply #10 on: November 01, 2001, 01:37:46 AM »
They have a product I think called "Sonotubes",  that you can put down 4 feet into the ground,  in a hole small enough you can dig it with a regular post-hole digger.  Then,  you can buy brackets that you put in when the concrete is still wet,  usually for 4x4s for decks,  but they may have larger sizes.  You can "crown" the concrete to help water run off,  and away from the posts.  Then again,  the white cedar posts that were around the cow pasture at my grandparents' house are still there....I kicked one last year,  and just hurt my toe.  I'm 44,  so they've been in the ground,  and ground only,  for at least 50 years or more.  I also have cedar posts lining my driveway,  and you can't even wiggle them.  They've been there almost ten years.  The trusses that hold my bridge up on my property up in the U.P. are Tamarack,  and the neighbors still drive a bulldozer across it...It was buit in the early 1960's.
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Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: what wood for ground contact
« Reply #11 on: November 01, 2001, 02:50:40 AM »
I used to have white cedar fence posts for my post and rail fence.  They only lasted about 10 years.  I switched over to treated southern pine posts.

I wonder if its a regional thing.  This cedar was from New Jersey, I believe.  That would make it an Atlantic white cedar, not a Northern white.
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Offline timberbeast

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Re: what wood for ground contact
« Reply #12 on: November 01, 2001, 03:49:13 AM »
Interesting,  Ron!!  These look like you could blow them over,  but they are solid.  They are crooked,  but they aren't falling.  It might be because in Delta County,  Michigan,  the bedrock is only about 4 feet down.  I would suspect that would make a difference?  They used to,  in my dad's young days (1930's) use dynamite to make their basements,  until somebody said:  "Hey,  why don't we just build the house higher??  LOL
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Online Corley5

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Re: what wood for ground contact
« Reply #13 on: November 03, 2001, 08:10:37 PM »
Old growth white cedar seems to last MUCH longer than the new stuff.  There are some fence posts on Grandpa's place that are still solid after 60+ years.  I worked at a deer ranch a few years back and some of the posts we put in only lasted 3 years!  I've also heard that it depends on the time of year that cedar is cut.  Winter cut lasts longer than summer cut or vice versa.  I don't remember.  If I were building a pole barn I'd go with treated stuff or find some old utility poles.
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